Past Seminars & Webinars

Resiliency in Agriculture

Will Harris

Will Harris is a fourth-generation cattleman, who tends the same land that his great-grandfather settled in 1866. Born and raised at White Oak Pastures, Will left home to attend the University of Georgia's School of Agriculture, where he was trained in the industrial farming methods that had taken hold after World War II. Will graduated in 1976 and returned to Bluffton where he and his father continued to raise cattle using pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics. They also fed their herd a high-carbohydrate diet of corn and soy.

These tools did a fantastic job of taking the cost out of the system, but in the mid-1990s Will became disenchanted with the excesses of these industrialized methods. They had created a monoculture for their cattle, and, as Will says, "nature abhors a monoculture." In 1995, Will made the audacious decision to return to the farming methods his great-grandfather had used 130 years before.

Since Will has successfully implemented these changes, he has been recognized all over the world as a leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability. Will is the immediate past President of the Board of Directors of Georgia Organics. He is the Beef Director of the American Grassfed Association and was selected 2011 Business Person of the year for Georgia by the Small Business Administration.

Will lives in his family home on the property with his wife Yvonne. He is the proud father of three daughters, Jessi, Jenni, and Jodi. His favorite place in the world to be is out in pastures, where he likes to have a big coffee at sunrise and a 750ml glass of wine at sunset.

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Dr. Suzanne Simard

Emory Climate Talks hosts Dr. Suzanne Simard for a virtual conversation about her new book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.

Dr. Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia and the leader of The Mother Tree Project, which researches forest renewal practices that protect biodiversity against climate change. Dr. Simard’s work has been published widely, with over 170 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Ecology, and Global Biology. She is also co-author of the book Climate Change and Variability.

Her latest book, Finding the Mother Tree, brings us into the intimate world of trees, exploring the ways in which trees learn and adapt their behaviors, remember the past, demonstrate agency over the future, and cooperate with a sophistication typically ascribed to humans. Dr. Simard’s research has been communicated broadly through TED Talks and TED Experiences, as well as articles and interviews in The New Yorker, National Geographic, The Globe and Mail, NPR, CNN, CBC, and many more.

Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in the Southeast: The role of solar

Bryan Jacob

Bryan Jacob is a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and serves as Solar Program Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). This role ranges from conducting research on solar power trends to advocacy on utility resource planning and specifically includes collaboration with stakeholders in the solar energy development industry. Highlights from Bryan’s earlier career include launching Climate Coach International to help organizations implement practical climate protection strategies and 21 years leading environmental initiatives for The Coca-Cola Company. He is also a nine-time national champion in weightlifting and represented the U.S.A. in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics (Barcelona and Atlanta). 

Specialty Chemicals: Sustainability Perspectives from the Middle of the Value-Chain

Jason Keiper 00G, PhD

Jason Keiper is Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer at Stepan Company, based in Northfield, IL (USA). He is responsible for Stepan’s global R&D teams and Sustainability program.

Jason joined Stepan Company in 2001 as a research chemist, and then moved to Syngenta in 2006. At Syngenta, he held several roles in product development, eventually leading their Product Technology & Engineering team globally. He rejoined Stepan in 2019 in his current role. 

Jason received his Ph.D in Chemistry in 2000 from Emory, and held a postdoctoral position at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The future of the voluntary carbon market under the Paris Agreement

Matthew Brander, PhD

Matthew is a Senior Lecturer in Carbon Accounting at the University of Edinburgh’s Business School. His current research focuses on the development of methods for corporate, product (life cycle assessment), project and policy-level greenhouse gas accounting.  He has particular interest in bioenergy, offsetting, electricity accounting, greenhouse gas removal, and land use baselines. He has served as a member of several technical working groups for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and is on the peer review panel for BEIS/Defra’s emission factors publication for company reporting. Prior to his current position Matthew worked for over seven years in carbon management and greenhouse gas assessment at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, and at Ecometrica.